Friday, May 03, 2013

Out on the Trail

Chance Trots Out

I upped my exercise a bit by walking over to the sandpit to pay my hay bill instead of driving. It's probably under 1/2 mile down the road and a rather long driveway. Fortunately, I was able to walk well off the pavement in both directions, first by walking in the grass swathe next to the lake and then by walking in the cornfield on the other side.  All in all, I was out and about for 45 minutes or so--a good part of it chatting with my hay supplier.

He has been trying to get the State of NJ to buy the lake and his land for some time. He is a developer and will probably build houses there as an option, but adding the acres to the Pigeon Swamp State Park would be the ideal solution. We talked about some of the other development going on in the area as well.

Sadly, he confirmed what I'd heard about a beautiful old historic house about 2 miles from here. It has gone to such rack and ruin that it is going to be torn down. He said he had investigated buying it himself, but when his structural engineer examined it, he told my hay man that it would cost a minimum of $1 million to get it into safe shape. It's termite infested and falling apart. I hope to take some pictures of it before it gets torn down. What a shame.

I walked home, had some lunch and eventually headed out to ride Chance. It was a gorgeous still day--not like today with a stiff breeze--so it was safe to ride in the woods. After the mess hurricane Sandy made back there, there are a lot of branches I worry about still being in danger of falling. And there are at least two trees broken off the trail passes under.

Chance was a frisky boy on the way out and insisted on trotting away from home. Bless my neighbor who cleared the debris from the trail because it was lovely and clear out to the field, so Chance was able to let off a little of his excitement. As I've said before, he is the only horse I've ever ridden who moves faster leaving the barn then coming home.

We took the medium length trail through the woods. Horses or minibikes have started to flatten "go arounds" where all the trees have fallen. It still makes for a maze of trail rather than the lovely wide passages that used to be there, but it's still pleasant. I do hope the big roadblocks of tree trunks will discourage  the ATV's and minibikes from racing around back there. My neighbor said it seemed awfully quiet of late and I have to agree. I can only hope.

When I got back home, I had to chase Toby and Tucker out of the riding arena. They'd managed to open the gate to get in and insisted on monitoring Chance and me as we tried to work just a little. I had to dismount, chase them out, remount, and then do just a little trot and canter.

I focused on trying to get Chance to stay round and on the bit for the transitions. At the finish, I simply expected him to stay round on a downward from trot to walk. It took about ten repetitions before he managed, but when he gave me one good one, I stopped.

Right now, his big issue is keeping his hind end engaged in the transitions. He loses his balance and lifts his head, so I have to really work to inspire some roundness. As I've said, it won't take long to fix it.  He really does have a lovely attitude and tries hard.

I was thinking of taking Tucker out for a trail ride today, but the wind is discouraging me. I hope to ride him in the arena instead.


  1. Glad you were able to get out and around on the trails with some nice weather. Oddly enough, Pie often moves out better going away from home than coming back. Hope the ATVs stay away - we're lucky in that most of the trails we ride are in "no motorized vehicles" areas - we still have to deal with bikes, but that's not too bad.

    1. The State Park forbids motorized vehicles too. It's posted, but the ATV/minibikes just ignore the law. There is minimal supervision and no park rangers to enforce anything. The local police will only stop them if they don't need to chase anyone. Lots of the riders are local, but I've seen guys ship in from towns 20 miles away.

  2. Glad you had a nice ride on the trails. I hope the fallen trees discouraged the ATVers this year.

    It's a shame about that old house. I love old houses and enjoy fixing them up but that price is a little steep to get it to safe.

  3. i had to stop and translate - over here a pavement is what you call a sidewalk!